Kiba tried to wrestle the mad thing away from his throat but it had all the meanness and tenacity of a junkyard dog, if none of the cunning. If it had been a dog he might have gotten a forearm between those jaws and his throat (better the arm than something more vital), but he didn't want it biting any part of him just in case whatever-this-was was contagious. If it could be spread just by close contact, he might already be screwed, but it was a little late for that.

It – and it was definitely an 'it', never mind that it looked just a little too much like the nice old man who ran the ramen stand down the street – snapped and flailed wildly. It ignored his own wild punches, even when he caught it a good one right in the eye. He was damn thankful he'd worn his thick leather jacket and spiked dog collar – a gag gift from his sister that he liked anyway – today.

Then there was a terrific high-pitched growl and the thing turned its attention to the small dog latched onto its leg, savaging the tendons. This let Kiba get a leg between them and kick out, launching it a good five feet away. Before it could sort out what was going on, Kiba had scrambled up and was above it, kicking for all he was worth. His steel-toed boots did their job, mushing the skull into paste until it wasn't even twitching.

Kiba panted like a dog, taking in great lungfuls of air, and his heart hammered in his chest like a panicked rabbit. His legs buckled, planting him on his ass in the disgusting detritus. He looked at his trembling limbs with interest, like they were someone else's.

Adrenaline crash, he figured. Or maybe it was the jaws a little too close to his face. Humans had a pretty primal fear of being preyed upon, left over from when they weren't the baddest things on the planet. He didn't know, he was just an assistant vet, not a psychologist.

Akamaru jumped on him and he clutched the pup to him like he was the only real thing in a world gone crazy.

"Oh, thank fuck," he whispered into the white dog's ruff. "Jesus. Thank God."

Nothing like a near-death experience – like fucking Armageddon - to get a lapsed Catholic back to religion.

He sat like that, easy prey for any zombies ambling by for what had to be five, ten minutes before he felt strong enough to move. I mean, zombies. Ridiculous, right? Where's Ving Rhames when you need him?

But what else could it be? Rabies? Was there some sickness that could turn people into cannibals? None he'd ever heard of. Not even poryphoria did that.

His first instinct was to get the sweet little moped Hana had helped him buy when he got into high school. It wasn't much of a plan, but he'd feel a lot safer with his wheels. Then he could… well, he'd figure that out when he got to it. He slipped Akamaru into his fur-lined jacket so just his white head pocked out of the unzipped V. Akamaru was well-trained, but he didn't want to take chances.

The two blocks to his bike went by fast, considering he was moving just slow enough that if he ran into more zombies he wouldn't be too out of breath to fight or run the other way. But his nerves stretched it out into a small eternity.

He only encountered one – mercifully no one he knew – and something had already crushed one of it's legs. Maybe a car wheel, there wasn't really anything fallen over it could have gotten caught under.

Its awkward shuffling gait meant he had no problem getting some distance between them.

At school it looked like the bike rack had been busted up but his moped was still there, tucked away in the back corner of the lot. Cherry red, one of the LX series, if a little dinged and beat up. They'd bought it used and he'd been learning how to fix it up, but right now it was just about the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen in his life. He got on and stuck the key in the ignition before he found himself doing anything weird, like hugging the bike out of pure relief.

It started up with only a couple worrying whirrs that had already been there and he peeled out of the school parking lot. He didn't know where everyone was – he thought he remembered hearing something about their baseball team having a game – but he was getting the fuck out of here. If he found someone, he'd deal with it then.

There weren't any cars on the road, which he didn't know to be thankful for or more worried, but it did mean he made good time toward his house.

He couldn't really think of where else to go.

Then he saw the scrum, the jerky flails he'd automatically characterized as zombie behavior. They were clustered around something. Something small. Something pale.

Something human.

He didn't think he made a conscious decision; just jerked the handlebars until he was on a collision course with the dogpile.

He hit the rearmost zombie going around his Vespa's top speed of 50mph. His vespa tore the zombie in half with a horrible squelching sound. He guessed it must have been strangely squishy, but it felt like hitting a wall all the same; his trusty moped ground to a halt and almost spilled him.

He staggered and almost fell as he hit the ground running. He tore the other zombie off the person on the ground and frantically stomped it to death, never minding the unpleasant fluids streaking his pants. "Just like putting out a forest fire," he assured himself a little crazily.

He recognized her. The girl on the ground, that is.

"Are you okay?" he demanded. Silently he begged, Be all right, please. Let me save something from all this.

Hyuuga Hinata didn't answer. In fact, she didn't even seem to be focusing on him, those pale blue Hyuuga eyes fixed on nothing. Her face was paler than usual, which was saying something.

All he could think of was that she'd been his classmate since kindergarten and was in the tea ceremony club and had a truly abysmal sense of humor – hell, she liked Naruto's jokes, that said it all right there – and he'd only spoken with her a handful of times and it was suddenly the most important thing in the world that she live.

There was blood on her jacket. If lazy Saturday afternoons watching old zombie flicks with Naruto, Shika and Chouji told him anything, it was that zombie bites were bad news.

He tore the zipper on her heavy cream-colored jacket in his haste to get it off her. If there were a more awkward time for teenage hormones to make their reappearance, he didn't know what it was. But her boobs were right there, covered only by a black, tight-fitting tank top and some kind of mesh. She must never take that jacket off, she was way too shy to pull that look off.

Forget Ino and Ami, it looked like Hinata was the most stacked girl in their grade.

He began checking her over more professionally and less like a teenage hornball. He started at her core and worked to the extremities, searching for injuries. He didn't have his first aid cert, but living with a family of veterinarians taught you a few things.

All the while hoping nothing attacked them in the next few minutes, or he'd have to manage a very uncomfortable hunched run back to the moped.

The only injury seemed to be a ragged cut on her right forearm. He didn't think they were from teeth – they'd be more circular, right? – but he wouldn't care to put money on it.

Tearing up a shirt for pressure bandages was a lot harder than the movies made it seem, but he eventually managed it. His poor t-shirt would never be the same, but he'd manage.

Around this time he remembered his abused mode of transportation. It already wasn't in the best of shape – there was a reason he was in auto club and not baseball this year – and hitting someone (for a given value of 'someone') likely hadn't improved things.

He ran over and checked it every bit as delicately as he had Hinata.

"Come on, baby," he coaxed, and crowed when it started up with no more trouble than he'd ever had. "Okay, Hinata, let's get you up and-"

That's about when Akamaru, still safely inside his jacket, let out a growl of threat. He spun to find no less than three of the shambling horrors almost upon them. They were all large and strong, probably construction workers or something.

"That," Kiba said, strangely calm, "is not fucking fair." Zombies shouldn't be smart enough to move in packs. It'd be nice if they tore each other apart like rabid dogs when they met. Yeah, that'd be good.

He hesitated, torn between the moped and Hinata, still lying there like a lump. Well, probably more like a traumatized victim who had lived through a terrible ordeal, but he didn't feel like being fair right now.

But damn it, he wasn't going to blow out of here and leave her to her death. He wasn't that guy. Even if it was all too likely to just end in a double homicide, instead of one.

He glanced around quickly, but there wasn't a conveniently sized piece of rebar around to fight them off with. Not even a damn brick. Well, fuck it.

"Hinata! Run!" he shouted, hoping she obeyed. He let Akamaru out of his hiding place and charged, and quietly hoped for a miracle. Because otherwise he probably wasn't going to come out of this well, and Hinata would probably die, and just… game over. The things weren't fast, but they were strong, and felt no pain. He did.

He got in a good kick on the leading zombie, knocking it into the other, but the other one grabbed him and started trying to drag him down.

The thundering blast of a shotgun firing from the rear of the monster squad was his salvation. The sound came again, and then when he managed to wriggle away from the zombie grappling with him, the zombie pretty much exploded from the chest up when the gun fired again. Kiba ended up with a jacket speckled with disgusting zombie bits to match his pants, and he had never been so happy to have an outfit ruined.

A kid stepped over twitching body parts. He had on a featureless parka, kind of like Hinata's but a pale green, black mirror shades and – most importantly – a still-smoking gun. Kiba didn't know shit about guns, but it was big and intimidating, a matte-black, two-handed, vaguely shotgun-like with one long barrel and some cartridge thing underneath.

They stared at each other for a second. It took him a minute to place him: Shino, the quiet kid in the chess club.

"Dude," Kiba enunciated clearly. "What the fuck." Since when was the chess club full of stone-cold badasses?

Shino took his supporting hand off the gun and adjusted his shades. He deadpanned, "Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker."

More silence. Then Kiba started laughing. The kind of foot-stopping, knee-slapping, can-hardly-stay-upright laughter that only crazy people can manage, because holy shit, he was still alive. He eventually wound down and said, "Come on, we can fit three on my Vespa if we scrunch in a little. Let's get the hell out of here."

Shino just gave a little nod of acknowledgement.

Shino's gun is a Franchi SPAS-12, a fairly iconic shotgun. More a collector's item nowadays compared to the Benelli or Mossberg models, due to complicated reloading, a higher than usual chance of jamming and it's out of production to boot. But it simply corners the market on the Rule of Cool, which is why Hollywood – and I - loves it so. And now you know.

I thought it would be too mean for Naruto to have to deal with old Ramen Guy, so Kiba got him.